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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Weekend in Belfast

Colombian student Isa recently took part in St. Patrick's Day celebrations across Belfast. Find out how she made the most of her weekend below!

St Patrick's parade at Belfast City Hall
The artist starting the show at the City Hall

St. Patrick's Day is a purely Irish holiday when the figure of St. Patrick, who is the Patron Saint of Ireland, is commemorated. This celebration pays homage to the Irish cultural heritage that is spread throughout the island and is a source of pride for many locals because it highlights the genius and richness of what it means to be Irish.

This celebration has reached all parts of the world and is celebrated in the most important cities on the planet. What better place to celebrate the most important Irish holiday in the world than in one of the most wonderful cities on the whole island such as Belfast?

I'm going to tell you about my three-day experience celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Belfast from 15th - 17th March.

Three students celebrating St Patrick's Day

Wearing green for St. Patrick's Day

Friday 15th: Feeling the vibe

Friday marked the start of the weekend, and my friends and I were so excited to be able to enjoy St. Patrick's Day in Belfast and started celebrating on the 15th March. Many of the pubs in Belfast were already preparing for this date, and most already had plenty of deals available on liquor and food. Our Friday afternoon started at The American Bar where we had a few beers and got into the mood.

Then we went to the Ulster Sports Club, which has a very vibrant atmosphere where we were able to meet several people and enjoy a night of DJs with very good music sets. We spent the rest of the night there but we saved our energy for the remaining days.

Umbrella display in Cathedral Quarter Belfast

Cathedral Quarter

Saturday 16th: The night before

The night before St. Patrick's Day is promising as the city is already full of visitors who have come to enjoy the local atmosphere on this holiday, so the joy is already felt everywhere. 

The Cathedral Quarter is a mandatory spot for every visitor during this weekend, and of course we drank some pints in the Duke of York. The fun was already felt in the place, and we enjoyed meeting people on the streets and in the pub. However, we wanted to know how the rest of the city felt, so afterwards we went to The National which never disappoints. The atmosphere is always full of energy, so it is very easy to catch it to feel happy and motivated to dance.

Student Isabella inside the Duke of York

Inside the Duke of York

Close to The National is White's Tavern, at White's we were able to enjoy live music in true Irish style and feel more deeply this wonderful tradition and culture.

That night we couldn't sit still, and to please me and feel a more Latin atmosphere, my friends took me to Revolución de Cuba, where we could enjoy a lot of dancing and live music in the Latin American style. In Belfast you can find everything and at the same time feel at home, so I doubt very much that you can ever get bored in this city.

Group of people on the stairs in the National bar

With my friends at The National

Finally, our night ended in Limelight, this was the only place where we were charged a cover fee to get in (£6 per person), we enjoyed the dance music that characterises this place and then we went to our homes to rest for the next day, the most awaited date.

Sunday 17th: St. Patrick's Day

The long-awaited day arrived. We were at one of our friends' apartments before the parade, playing some music and games for a while. At 1pm we went to the city centre to look for a place to enjoy the parade that started at 1:30pm. It was a majestic event full of music, dance, and folkloric samples.

The parade started at City Hall and went through various streets of Belfast city centre, it was made up of typical Irish dances, Scottish bagpipes and even samples of international folklore such as Capoeira from Brazil.

Group playing bagpipes at St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast

My favourite moment of the parade

At the end of the Parade the fun continued, and the streets of Belfast were buzzing with many happy people everywhere, with most of the city's pubs being crowded. It is to be expected that by this time, the lines to enter any establishment are endless, so you must be patient if you want to enter your favorite pub.

We started with Cathedral Quarter, having a few pints at the Duke of York, then we moved on to the Dirty Onion and The Bridge House, where we were able to eat a little and enjoy more pints. At about 7pm we decided to go back to our homes to get some rest and meet again at 9pm to continue with the celebrations.

Parade dancer at St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast

A magnificent dancer in the parade

Our celebrations concluded with the excellent music and sangria of Revolución de Cuba. Luckily, Monday 18th was a holiday, so we were able to unwind for the whole day after such a hectic weekend.

It has been one of the best experiences of my life to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Belfast and to feel the Irish spirit in every corner of the city and every person. I would do it again a thousand times more - don't miss it next year!

Find out more

Information for students from Colombia

More blogs about Belfast and Northern Ireland

Nightlife in Belfast

Isabella Barros De La Rosa

Violence, Terrorism and Security | Postgraduate Student | Colombia

Hello, my name is Isabella Barros, I am 24 years old and I am from a beautiful city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia called Barranquilla. I am currently pursuing my master's in Violence, Terrorism and Security at Queen’s.

I am very into running and outdoor activities. That's why Belfast is so amazing to live in, because of the landscapes, and the spaces for this kind of hobby.

Besides running and studying, you can find me in any bookstore, wandering around the city, or enjoying a pleasant coffee in a cute cafe!

Isabella Barros De La Rosa